This year, Vytaliving are starting the year with 8 handy guides to improving your health. So far we have covered weight loss, exercise, mental wellbeing, bone health, joint health, cardiovascular health and much more. Today’s article looks at cognitive health and memory. Including, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors to improve cognitive wellbeing for the long term.
You can find the rest of the articles in the Full Body MOT series on the Vytaliving site. However, if you want to read more about brain health then keep scrolling...
Areas of the brain associated with Memory
For a long time, memory was inconceivable because it wasn’t a tactile element. It couldn’t be seen, explored or shared with others. However, as technology progressed, and our understanding of neuroscience improved we begun to learn how the brain worked, and how memories are stored.
The answer is – that memories aren’t stored in one place. For episodic memories, including memorable events and facts, the information is stored in the hippocampus, neocortex and amygdala. Whereas the basal ganglia and cerebellum are used for muscle memory, and the prefrontal cortex is used for short term recall information.
Nutrition for Memory
Zinc, Iron & Iodine
Iron, Zinc and Iodine have been shown to contribute to the normal function of the brain and cognition. Iodine and Iron play important roles in the development of the brain and neural system as a foetus and during childhood development. That being said, we continue to learn and develop as we age which means we need nutrients to maintain our brains wellbeing and cognitive function.
More specifically, Zinc is necessary for cell division during DNA synthesis. Animal studies on rats show that gestational zinc deficiency in rodents' results in decreased number of brain cells and mass in the cerebellum, limbic system, and cerebral cortex. One study took 387 adults aged 55-87 years. They found that after 3 and 6 months of 0 (placebo), followed by 15 or 30mg of zinc per day there was significant benefit to spatial working memory at both dosage strengths.
Whereas, animal studies on Iron deficiency showed a decrease in the size of the hippocampus, for learning and memory. An study on adult humans showed that Iron supplementation improved attention and concentration irrespective of baseline iron status. In anaemic groups supplementation improved intelligence quotient (IQ) by 2.5 points.
The brain is comprised of approximately 60% fat. It makes sense that healthy fats found in fish oils support its wellbeing. Fish oil contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Research demonstrates their role in cognitive structure and function. Studies demonstrate that omega 3 fatty acids promote blood flow to the brain by positively affecting blood vessel function. In addition, Omega-3 fats can slow the degradation of neural tissue and benefits cognition and mood.
Herbal brain supplements are also known as nootropics. These typically feature botanicals such as Bacopa Monnieri, Lion’s mane, Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng. Many of these contain actives that have been shown to increase circulation to the brain and even improve the outcome of cognitive tasks.
For example, one study provided participants with a supplement containing ginkgo (360mg), Ginseng (400mg), a combination of both or a placebo. The order of treatments was randomised, between treatments, there was a 7 day washout period. In order to test cognition, they were given a computerised assessment and 2 arithmetic tests. Studies showed that ginseng improved the speed of performing memory tasks and the accuracy of attentional tasks. Whereas Ginkgo and Ginkgo/ginseng combination helped to improve arithmetic task results.
How does Exercise affect Memory?
One strongly repeated theme is that exercise is a great way to promote physical and mental longevity. Investigators found that participating in aerobic exercise for only 2 minutes to 1 hour at moderate to high intensity improved attention, concentration, and learning and memory functions for up to 2 hours. Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t.
Simply put, "Exercise makes you smart," - Peter Blomstrand, MD, PhD, of County Hospital Ryhov and Jönköping University, in Sweden.
Lifestyle Factors to Improve Memory
Aside from nutrition and exercise, there are a number of lifestyle factors that you can practice improving memory:
- Practice memory strengthening games regularly.
- Understand how your brain likes to learn best – visual, audio or kinaesthetic.
- Use mnemonic and acronyms to remember lists.
- Learn a Language.
- Prioritise your sleep, ensure you get between 7-9 hours to allow your brain to rest and restore.
- Minimise life stressors or learn to manage your stress.
- Read every day.
- Instead of writing down your shopping list try to remember it.
- Play brain training games regularly, such as sudoku.
- Learn a new skill.
Memory Support Tablets
So, what can you do to support your brains’ long-term health? Eat a healthy and balanced diet – definitely? Exercise regularly – absolutely? Look for a supplement to boost your brain function? Vytaliving has the answer.
Biovit's memory tablets have been formulated for normal cognitive function. This formulation has been designed by a qualified Nutritionist. It contains the synergistic pair of ginkgo biloba and ginseng, alongside iron, zinc and iodine.
Nutrition plays a large role in our brain outcomes throughout our lives, even having impacts during foetal development. However, brain development doesn't stop there, we continue to learn and develop throughout our life. As we develop our brain requires certain nutrients to maintain normal cognitive function. Iron, Iodine and Zinc have been shown to maintain normal cognitive function. Whereas, Ginkgo biloba and ginseng are a powerful cognitive herbal pairing that has long been admired within traditional Chinese medicine for their beneficial effects.